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One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 5

Week 8, meal 5, technically.  I’m not stressing over keeping up with the weeks specifically this year since my schedule seems to be a bit of a mess, and with it just being me at home since the market opened, I find that one meal makes enough leftovers for one person for a whole week (sometimes a little more).  We went through a bit of a chilly and rainy spell in May, so I went in search of recipes that utilized the crock pot as a nice way to cozy up the house while it was dreary and cold.  I stumbled across this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chop Stroganoff, and I knew I had the ingredients on hand already, so we had a winner.  I did make a few substitutions, as usual.  We had two huge pork butt steaks in the freezer, so I used those instead of pork chops,  In place of the butter and gravy mix, I used olive oil to quick brown the pork butt steaks, and then just plain water in the crock pot with the mushrooms and a wee splash of vinegar.  After cooking all day, I took a bit of the liquid in the bottom of the crock pot and mixed it with some flour to thicken it up, then added goat’s milk yogurt to make the sauce.  I tend to use goat’s milk yogurt in place of cow’s milk since I don’t enjoy the taste of cow’s milk, and goat’s milk yogurt has this nice tangy flavor to it.  The meal is super simple, and while it doesn’t look like much on the plate, wow was it ever good.  On the side, I had a strawberry and rhubarb tart from my favorite Flour Fairies at the farmers market.  The rhubarb is local, so this one fits in better with the One Local Summer theme.  The tartness of the rhubarb with the sweetness of the strawberries made for a wonderful treat!

Ingredients:
Pork – Countrytime Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Non Local – Salt, Olive Oil, Pepper, Homemade vinegar

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 2

Meal two of this year’s One Local Summer is in the books!  We’re still a little short on vegetables since it’s early in the growing season, but there’s plenty of spinach and mushrooms to go around, plus we had a new vendor at the market that had sheep’s milk feta, so the idea for this meal came together pretty quickly.  I found a recipe for a spinach and feta galette here, and with a few modifications, it ended up working as a perfect One Local Summer meal.  I didn’t have ricotta or sour cream, but I did have mushrooms, so I made a small change.  I probably should’ve added a bit more spinach to fill in the gaps, but really, it was fine without it, just a little thin.  I’m going to reveal one of my biggest baking tips here too – for the crust, instead of cutting the butter and pulsing it in a food processor, I freeze my butter and grate it into the flour.  It makes for a more even distribution of butter and a perfect flaky crust every time.  On the side is a simpleMâche salad with olive oil and our own homemade vinegar.  These greens are something I haven’t had before but are buttery and nutty and a real delight next to the galette.  The galette is also great as leftovers, reheated in the toaster oven!

Ingredients:
Mâche – Jack’s Farm
Butter – I think it was Yellow Springs Farm – the farm name isn’t on the label, but it looks like their font/style!
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Feta Cheese –  Day Spring Farm
Spinach – Charlestown Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, homemade vinegar, salt

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 1

This is going to be my NINTH year of One Local Summer which is pretty incredible.  Last year, I ended kind of abruptly at week 13 after we found out that my dearest girl-dog, Mattie, had a fast-growing, incurable cancer and was given two weeks to live.  She made it 5 more weeks post-diagnosis, but it’s safe to say that she became my top priority at that point in time, and One Local Summer just didn’t seem that important when pitted against the pup’s health situation.  After she passed, my heart was broken, and really, still is.  I spent more time with her than I have with my husband who is out to sea for work more often than he’s home, so it’s been incredibly difficult to deal with the loss of a beloved pet, confidant, and the best, most earnest listener ever.  Her brother is still around, but he’s always been a more aloof sort of dog whereas Mattie would take every opportunity to weasel her way onto your lap (yes, all 50 lbs of her) to beg for head rubs or just to curl up and snore her happy little face off.  She was my little peanut and I miss her tremendously.

That’s a long way of saying we had a loss in the family, and I couldn’t focus on much else since I was grieving.

(and now that I’ve probably made you cry… moving on…)

In case you’re not familiar with One Local Summer, the idea is that you make one meal a week using only ingredients found locally which serves to reduce your “food miles” by using food grown and raised near home instead of across the country.  It means that your food uses less fuel to get to your home, reducing your overall carbon footprint.  It also means that you get to know your local farmers, purchase from local small businesses, and support local agriculture.  Getting to know the people who grow/make/raise the food I eat has been such an incredible experience over the past nine years – I joke that our local weekly farmers market is my farmers market family, and they’re a wonderful group of people that I enjoy seeing every week!  I’m going back to the meal-by-meal format instead of doing set weeks.  Let’s face it, some weeks get away from me, and rather than feel stressed to cook and blog about it when I’m just out of time and energy, this gives me the option to double up some weeks, and give myself a break other weeks if I need it.

I kind of can’t believe it’s been nine whole years of this already.

Our market went to regular summer hours at the beginning of April, so I figured I might as well start this thing off at the same time, even though it’s a month earlier than the usual start of our market summer season.  The market is still on in the winter on an every-other-week schedule since a lot of producers grow in hot houses.  There’s not all that much available at the beginning of the season in terms of vegetables – lots of leafy greens, but not too much else – so the earlier meals end up being a little simpler.  Well, not this one!  I found a recipe for baked empanadas that had a great, easy recipe for the dough that was basically just lard and flour, so I knew I could do that locally.  For the filling, I deviated from the recipe and decided on veal, spinach, scallions, and cheese curds and it was PERFECT.  Really, you could fill the dough with just about any combination of veggies/meat/cheese/etc and get creative with these, so I may re-visit this recipe later.  I made the filling and dough the night before so they had enough time to chill and then assembled them the next evening.  It’s a bit more work than I usually put into a One Local Summer dinner since I don’t necessarily enjoy cooking (a girl’s gotta eat though), but the result was well worth the extra time!  I added some mushrooms and cheese curds to round out the plate since hey, mushrooms and cheese curds, who could say no?!  The wine glass features mead I made from honey from our hives, so that was an extra special treat.

Ingredients:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Cheese Curds – Birchrun Hills
Veal – Birchrun Hills
Spinach – Charlestown Farm
Scallions – Jack’s Farm
Mead – Our Beehives
Non Local – Salt, olive oil

One Local Summer 2016 – Week 11

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Well, still playing catch-up and I really haven’t made much progress I guess!  This week was a bit of a wash on the catching-up game, but at least I cooked one meal this week!  I had found a pack of stir fry beef at the Wednesday farmers market at the Mill at Anselma and decided to run with it.  So, Saturday, I grabbed peppers and mushrooms, found an onion in the fridge, and decided to give this recipe a try.  I omitted the oyster sauce (because EEW GROSS OYSTERS), and ended up only using honey, soy sauce, pepper, and wine for the sauce which worked out just fine.  I suppose most folks would’ve served the beef over rice, but since rice isn’t local, I stir fried the crimini mushrooms, onions, and peppers separately which made a nice base for the beef.  Now, I’m not a terribly huge fan of beef, but in a stir fry, this was honestly really good, and the sauce came out just perfectly – sweet and a little salty.  This may be something I have to add into regular rotation in the kitchen!

Ingredients:
Beef – Gauker Farms
Onion – Charlestown Farm
Peppers – Charlestown Farm
Garlic – Charlestown Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Honey – Our Beehives
Wine – Paradocx “Barn Red”
Non Local – Soy Sauce, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

One Local Summer 2016 – Week 6

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My lazy self, alone at home, tends to keep things pretty simple when it comes to One Local Summer meals.  This is a super easy meal featuring Farro with sautéed garlic scapes and mushrooms and a little pork sausage.  Nothing fancy, but sometimes keeping the ingredient list short means the individual ingredients really get to shine, plus it’s much easier in the heat of the summer to cook something that isn’t so complicated.  Short and sweet for week 6, even a little late, but I swear I’ll be caught up as of tomorrow!

Ingredients:
Farro – North Star Orchard
Garlic Scapes – North Star Orchard
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Pork sausage – Countrytime Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper